The second official photo from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was unveiled this morning and depicts LOST star Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel.

Check it out, and click it for full size:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel

Tauriel is a new character in the Middle Earth universe dwelling in the Mirkwood Forest dreamed up by director Peter Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens. In Lilly’s words, she describes Taruiel as the head of the Elven Guard. “She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”

Fans will appreciate the fact that Lilly knows she’s entering a well-established world, and her character wasn’t created by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are going to be people who will totally hate Tauriel, think that she shouldn’t be in the movie, that it’s a betrayal of Tolkien, and no matter what I do it won’t be right,” she said to EW, who had the exclusive release. “There will be everything between that and people who adore her and think it’s such a fun thing to have added to the film. I kind of got prepped for that being on Lost, because we had avid fans who were really extreme in their feelings about the show and its characters. But I think if anyone knows how to respect Tolkien, it’s Peter, Fran and Phil. And Tauriel fits perfectly in that world.”

Lilly confirmed that Tauriel will have a love interest but wouldn’t confirm that it was Orlando Bloom’s character, Legolas. “Tauriel’s relationship with Legolas is significant,” she said. “They’ve known each other since they were children, and Legolas’ dad, [Elven king] Thrandruil, has a soft spot for Tauriel and sees something very special in her. So if you grow up side by side, and your dad has a very special spot in his heart for this young woman who’s a fantastic warrior, I think it’s hard not to notice her.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the second film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. An Unexpected Journey opened in theaters last year. Part 3, titled There and Back Again, opens December 2014.

Smaug hits theaters December 14, 2013. We’ve seen one other photo from the movie so far, and it depicts Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

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